The ChessCafe Puzzle Book 2: Test and Improve Your Positional Intuition
International Grandmaster Karsten Muller was born in Hamburg, Germany. He has established himself as one of the great chess authors. His works include the ChessCafe Puzzle Book 1, Danish Dynamite (with Martin Voigt), The Magic of Chess Tactics (with Claus Dieter Meyer), Secrets of Pawn Endings (with Frank Lamprecht) and Fundamental Chess Endings (with Frank Lamprecht). His monthly column Endgame Corner appears at www.ChessCafe.com. This is a unique instructional chess book that aims to help intermediate and advanced players improve their command of one of the most difficult as pects of playing chess - strategy. It does so by offering a large number of examples carefully selected by the author, German grandmaster Karsten Muller. While there are many books and software programs available to assist chess players in improving their tactical ability, there are relatively few that focus on strategic and positional considerations. Working through these positions and exercises is a great way to improve your positional understanding. German grandmaster Dr. Karsten Muller will help you develop your strategic chessplaying skills. As most chess instructors and players know, it is much more difficult to teach and learn strategic concepts than tactics. Topics include: Good and Bad Bishops; Domination; Outposts; Undermining; Opening the Position; Blockade; Improving Piece Placement; Prophylaxis; A Second Front and The Principle of Two Weaknesses; Counterplay; Positional Exchange Sacrifice; Simplification; and Weak Color Complex along with exercises to test your knowledge.
Maybe useful, but not as advertised.
By chungking - September 22, 2010
The title of this book led me to think it would be something like Silman's Workbook, but on steroids - advanced positional problems with very helpful explanations. Not at all.
This is a book very light on words, and very, very rich in variations. The problems are non-trivial, probably for Experts and above (my rating is 20xx). Many of the answers to the problems consist only of a thicket of variations, with not a single (!) word. Words, where they do exist, are mysteriously descriptive of the board situation, rather than explanatory. I don't know how you can do strategy without words and explanations.
In other words, this is a book of high level tactical problems, maybe with a positional slant, but offering no positional framework and basically offering no advice whatsoever to help the reader improve his own "positional evaluation function." It's the kind of thing I expect from John Nunn - terrific for pure analytics, but really not so great for... read more
Good job with a difficult topic
By Parker Rose "Parker" - October 13, 2010
If you are looking to be spoon-fed, bit by bit, a somewhat sophisticated concept - strategy in chess - then this book is not for you. However, if you want some excellent guidance and relevant instruction on a topic that has always resisted quantification, you may want to consider Karsten Muller's terrific second volume in his "Puzzle Book" Series.
I can see, for example, a weak-square complex, but I'm always a little unsure what to do about it. This book goes a long way in helping to sort out options, what to look for and then has good examples to help you understand the nature of e strategic concept and then what to do. .
This does require some effort and yes, this is not for weaker players. I guess at least 1600 or so would be the minimum rating. The suggestion that you will need to be at least at 2000 elo strength to benefit from this book is wrong. That's the standard - and rightly so - for Dvoretsky's (incredible) Analytical Manual.
I just recently returned to chess after a 20 year hiatus. I had to relearn strategy and tactics. One book I found helpful was Michael de la Maza's book on studying chess as an adultRapid Chess Improvement (Everyman Chess). De la Maza focuses on studying tactics. The ChessCafe Puzzle book series fits the bill in this regard as it introduces a theme and then gives you several exercises related to that theme. Plus I just enjoy solving chess problems. I would recommend this book to anyone playing at an intermediate level or below.